Sep 2, 2009
It has been over two years since ALEH Negev began a Community Service Rehab Program in conjunction with Shikma Prison in Ashkelon. The program that began as a trial has proved itself more than successful; it is a model of the goodness, sensitivity, and kindness that is within every individual. Givers and receivers mesh together, and sometimes it’s hard to tell who is giving more to whom.
Many of the residents recognize the volunteers and let out cries of joy as they enter the village. The volunteers join the residents in the various workshops and patiently help each resident fulfill his or her tasks. They accompany the residents as they go from building to building for various therapies, or take them for a walk when they need a break. They also assist the residents in using the various physiotherapy devices during physiotherapy sessions.
For us at ALEH Negev, the volunteers fill a most important need: more personal attention for each resident, which enables them to better realize their potential and maximize their abilities.
And the fact that the volunteers return to the village week after week is the greatest proof of the fulfillment they experience and receive in return. The innocence and purity of the residents draw forth the best qualities in the volunteers, and we stand in awe as we watch their beautiful interaction.
Read the feelings of one volunteer who just sent us this heartwarming letter.
To the wonderful people of ALEH NEGEV:
T H A N K Y O U
A huge Thank You for the extraordinary things you do on behalf of the extraordinary people that live in the village.
And another huge Thank You – for what you enabled us to receive.
It’s true that the main purpose of our coming was to volunteer and be the givers, but as the expression goes, “we came to give and left as the recipients”…
It’s also true that for a prisoner in rehab, every visit outside the prison walls has a secondary purpose, and that is the very fact that he can breathe the fresh air and interact with the outside world. But in this case it seems to me that the two purposes joined together to form a winning combination that is completely good for everyone involved – including the special residents of the village, the outstanding staff, the volunteering prisoners, and the accompanying officers.
In just a few days I will be receiving my freedom, but I am certain that the extraordinary, emotional encounter that I experienced here will continue to accompany me in the future, and will lead me to more volunteer opportunities on behalf of the community in my hometown.
I very much hope that the police commander will enable many more rehab prisoners to be partners in this special ALEH Negev community service program, thereby enabling them to discover a new window to the world while contemplating life…
Wishing you all continued growth and flourishing opportunity.
With heartfelt gratitude and wishes,
Shikma Prison – Ashkelon
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